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Safety measures likely for Cloverdale crosswalk

  • 11/2/2013: B1:Baldemar Torres, 13, and his cousin were crossing South Cloverdale Boulevard at Healdsburg Avenue when they were struck Thursday night.

    PC: A memorial, Friday Nov. 1, 2013, marks the site that Baldemar Torres, 13, and his cousin Enrique Andrade, 12, were struck in a marked crosswalk at Healdsburg Avenue and South Street in Cloverdale, shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday when a northbound Ford Ranger pickup hit them. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

A Cloverdale crosswalk where two boys were seriously injured on Halloween and a woman was killed last summer is likely to get some major safety improvements.

The city is moving to install pedestrian-activated pulsating lights in the pavement, as well as flashing warning signs, following a community outcry to fix the darkened crossing on South Cloverdale Boulevard.

Two days after the City Council rejected putting in a four-way stop there, a subcommittee of two council members and other officials on Wednesday instead recommended the flashing amber light system.

The estimated $55,000 cost for the lighted crosswalk from LightGuard Systems Inc. of Santa Rosa would be paid out of the city's road repavement fund, and justified as an urgency safety measure.

The City Council still needs to approve the recommendation. But City Manager Paul Cayler said the system at Cloverdale Boulevard and Healdsburg Avenue could be installed three to four weeks after the council acts, using the same contractor currently installing sidewalks in the area under the Safe Routes to School program.

That's not a moment too soon for those who have clamored for something to be done about the crosswalk, which has seen five accidents in the past year involving pedestrians or bicyclists struck by moving vehicles.

"I'm very pleased to hear that, and I'm pretty sure the whole community will be pleased to see something done about that before another person is killed, or another person is injured," said Gloria Ponce, daughter of Maria Ponce, the 68-year old Cloverdale woman killed in the crosswalk in July.

Guadalupe Castro Barragan, 83, the driver who struck her, is facing vehicular manslaughter charges. Police said he failed to yield to a pedestrian and was not wearing corrective lenses.

Shortly after the nighttime collision, members of Maria Ponce's large family, consisting of nine adult children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, beseeched the City Council to improve the crosswalk.

They were back again this week in even greater force at the City Council meeting after two teenage boys were struck in the same crosswalk on Halloween night.


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